Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Unique Thanksgiving

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Husband & I were supposed to spend a long weekend in Dublin, Ireland but an unexpected work issue is keeping us here. However, instead of participating in an ex-pat Thanksgiving dinner I'll be attending my work's "Catherinette party." What is a Catherinette, you ask? According to Wikipedia: Catherinette is a traditional French label for girls of twenty-five years old who are still unmarried by the Feast of Saint Catherine (November 25th). A special celebration was offered to them on this day, while everyone wished them a fast end to their singlehood.

Although the tradition no longer exists in modern-day France, French couture houses still honor this fête by creating hats for all Catherinettes, presenting them with a gift and allowing them to leave work early to attend a parade at City Hall. The hats must be green which symbolizes youth and the hope to find a husband, and yellow which symoblizes faith and passing time. They are often decorated with symbols of the fashion house, for example overlapping C's for Chanel. The house I work in throws a large soirée to honor all the Catherinettes and they even give us work off the next day! Although a Thanksgiving meal would have been lovely I couldn't pass up an open bar and the chance to experience this exceptional French custom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It took me a few days to get myself together and write this post.... as I finally have to admit that I only have about 6 weeks left in Paris.

Husband and I have been planning to move back to the States since last year and although we originally thought we might leave this past September, school combined with the economic crisis have kept us here. As I'll be finishing up my internship at the end of December and will have fulfilled all the credits to receive my masters degree, we took this as an opportunity to make the big move. I'll be leaving at the end of the year and husband will join me in March when he's finished with school and has *fingers crossed* received his immigrant visa. We're hoping that the end of the US recession means a boost in the job market and a new job for me in 2010. During the past month I've applied for several positions and haven't had any luck yet -but I'm trying to stay optimistic. It's going to be a rough two months without J, especially if I haven't landed a job. And although we've done the long distance thing before it never gets any easier. Luckily I'll have my amazing family to support me. The plan, for now, is to move back in with my parents until I've found employment. I know this isn't very "cool" but it makes the most sense considering J and I will no longer have any furniture or even a car. Regardless, I've been pretty blessed in the parents department and I can't wait to spend some time with my family (it's been a year).

For now I'm going to make the best out of the time I have left here. Even though Paris will no longer be considered home I know my 3 1/2 year love affair with this city is far from over.

I've been trying to compile a list of things I must do before leaving, so feel free to give me any ideas! This is what I've come up with so far:

To Do List

1) Take a spin around La Grande Roue

2) One last visit to a Marché aux Puces

3) Have a cocktail at the Bar Hemmingway

4) Climb up la Tour Eiffel (still have never done it!) and have a drink at the bar à champagne

5) Take part in one of the many marchés de Noël and enjoy tummy-warming vin chaud

(Are you sensing a theme here?)

6) Visit le Musée d'Orsay (for the 20th time but it never gets old)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Le Ticket Restaurant

One of the many social benefits of working for a large French company is le ticket restaurant, a pre-paid meal voucher you receive for every day you work. Now don't get too excited - it's not free by any means. However, the company does pay over half and in return they receive tax benefits. When looking at my bulletin de paie I notice that 3 euros are taken out of my paycheck for every day I work. This goes towards my booklet of vouchers. The amount of the voucher depends on the company and the location of where you work. Usually this would mean more money if you work on, let's say Avenue Montaigne in Paris. However when I was working in Levallois (Paris suburb) I had tickets worth 8,50€ and now that I'm on rue du Faubourg St. Honoré I only get 7,80€. (Now what's up with that?).

Although in concept I think these vouchers are a great idea, I often find myself either spending extra money on lunch or buying more food than I originally planned just to use the entire ticket (because the majority of places don't give change back). Where I work, there aren't many low-priced lunch options that will allow me to eat a good and healthy meal under 8 euros. It's either the local boulangerie where I find myself purchasing le menu (sandwich + drink + dessert) to get my full voucher value or a nearby café where I end up having to spend around 5 or so euros extra just to eat a salad.

In an effort to spend less money and eat more balanced meals, I've recently begun bringing my lunch to work. So what do I do when I've acquired 4 or more unused tickets? I take my husband out for dinner. Problem solved.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


For Halloween this year, Husband and I decided to trade "places" for the evening. And for some reason, J just couldn't keep a straight face. I kinda think he looks like Hulk Hogan. What do you think?